Skagen awaits its invitation

Norwegian asset manager Skagen is focused on spreading its footprint, but not through aggressive marketing and certainly not at the expense of existing customers, Åge Westbø deputy managing director tells InvestmentEurope.

The current low inflation environment has put many asset managers on the spot in terms of what exactly it is that they see themselves offering investors.

Not so Skagen, says Åge Westbø deputy managing director of the Norwegian firm, best known for its active management in global equity, that is currently stepping out of its traditional turf of Scandinavia into the UK and other European markets.
Westbø says that investors today are increasingly looking for solutions rather than just products, especially when it comes to long term savings and investments. This requires committment by both providers and investors to ensure that success is measured by more than simply growth in assets under management.

“Instead of product pushing you need to go more through a solution, put yourself in your client’s position, and build that opportunity through advising rather than through selling,” he says.


Existing clients

Existing clients have always been most important to Skagen, Westbø says, and this affects the way it views moves into new markets.

Although Ucits products are available to institutional clients across Europe , Skagen feels that it should be ‘invited’ into new marekts, rather than rush into them simply to gather assets. This occurred in the UK, where attention was first raised around Skagen’s performance. Responding to that type of demand led Skagen to establishing its UK office.

It is also careful to ensure that local clients get a local flavour to the service they receive, including local language requirements, Westbø says.

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